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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Heat-Induced Analogy

My summer job this year involves lots of quality time with a shovel. That's right, I'm doing construction. Today my shovel and I were up on the roof of an industrial building, scraping tar paper off 20 year old plywood. It was a lovely spring day in California, but a bit warm on the roof. As I walked around, I was careful to walk over the joists; but when I put a foot on the middle of the sheet of plywood, it would flex or even let out an ominous cracking noise.

I was reminded of a most applicable verse:
Ephesians 5:15
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

This admonition comes in the middle of an exhortation against immorality. If we think of the world as the roof, Christians often go to two different extremes. The liberal acts as if there were no sin, and jumps up and down in the middle of the sheet of plywood until he falls through to the hard concrete of apostasy. The fundamentalist draws a very narrow circle around himself and thinks that if he stays inside it, he will be safe. Somehow he still manages to fall through an open skylight.

We have a serious problem. We are sinners. Like a drunkard or a man with vertigo, we do exactly the wrong thing when it matters most. As Christians, we are being changed, but we can certainly sin in extraordinary ways. Is there no hope? Fortunately, there is another verse for us:
Romans 7:24-25
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Rather than denying our nature through libertine openness or a the phony discipline of a tie and short haircut, why not give Christ a chance? Through the work of the Holy Spirit, he keeps us on the path. If we try to keep ourselves pure any other way, the best we can hope for is traction.

Category: Theoblogia


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